William Cobbett

''William Cobbett'', portrait in oils, possibly by [[George Cooke (painter)|George Cooke]], about 1831. [[National Portrait Gallery (London)|National Portrait Gallery]], London. William Cobbett (9 March 1763 – 18 June 1835) was an English pamphleteer, farmer, journalist and member of parliament, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers, and he attacked the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" relentlessly. He was also against the Corn Laws, a tax on imported grain. Early in his career, he was a loyalist supporter of King and Country: but later he joined and successfully publicised the radical movement, which led to the Reform Bill of 1832, and to his being elected in 1832 as one of the two MPs for the newly enfranchised borough of Oldham. Although he was not a Catholic, he became a forceful advocate of Catholic Emancipation in Britain. Through the seeming contradictions in Cobbett's life, his opposition to authority stayed constant. He wrote many polemics, on subjects from political reform to religion, but is best known for his book from 1830, ''Rural Rides'', which is still in print today.
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